Thursday, October 30, 2003


An axe angles from my neighbor's ashcan;
It is hell's handiwork, the wood not hickory,
The flow of the grain not faithfully followed.
The shivered shaft rises from a shellheap
Of plastic playthings paper plates,
And the sheer shards of shattered tumblers
That were not annealed for the time needful.
At the same curbside, a cast-off cabinet
Of wavily warped unseasoned wood
Waits to be trundled in the trashman's truck.
Haul them off! Hide them! the heart winces
For junk and gimcrack for jerrybuilt things
And the men who make them for a little money,
Bartering pride like the bought boxer
Who pulls his punches, or the paid-off jockey
Who in the home-stretch holds in his horse. (1-12)

-Richard Wilbur


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